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Global Demographic Convergence? A Reconsideration of Changing Intercountry Inequality in Fertility

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This research challenges the notion that the second half of the twentieth century was a period of global demographic convergence. To be sure, fertility rates fell substantially during the period, but with considerable un-evenness. The declines in total fertility across population-weighted countries were sufficiently disproportionate that intercountry fertility inequality, estimated using standard measures of inequality, did not begin to decline until at least 1995. Regression analysis also shows that only very recently did lagging countries begin to catch up with countries that began the transition to low fertility earlier. Contrary to findings on changing intercountry health inequality, sub-Saharan Africa has had a greater impact on changes in fertility inequality than China. The trend in fertility inequality, where convergence is a relatively new phenomenon, stands in contrast to trends in inequality in other domains, such as income, education, and health.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Doctoral candidate in sociology and demography, Pennsylvania State University.

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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